At VIFreepBreaking NewsBritish Virgin Islands NewsCaribbean NewsCrime NewsMilitary NewsNational NewsPolice NewsPuerto Rico News

Coast Guard Seizes $51 Million In Cocaine After At-Sea Drug Bust Near The BVI

SAN JUAN — The Coast Guard Cutter Richard Etheridge crew offloaded approximately 1,700 kilograms of seized cocaine at Coast Guard Base San Juan Friday, following the disruption go-fast vessel smuggling attempt by Coast Guard and British Virgin Islands authorities near Anegada, British Virgin Islands.

This disruption and seizure is the result of multi-agency efforts involving the Caribbean Border Interagency Group and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force.  The seized cocaine has an estimated wholesale value of approximately $51 million dollars.

During a routine patrol the night of Aug. 27, 2021, the Coast Guard Cutter Richard Etheridge responded to the sighting of a suspect go-fast vessel, in waters northeast of the British Virgin Islands.  Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan directed the launch of a Coast Guard MH-60T aircraft from Air Station Borinquen to vector cutter Richard Etheridge to the go-fast vessel’s position.  Additionally, Coast Guard and British Virgin Islands authorities maintained communication to interdict the suspect go-fast vessel.  As the cutter Richard Etheridge closed in on the go-fast vessel, the smugglers proceeded to jettison their cargo and flee the area at high speed.  Afterwards, the Coast Guard helicopter crew proceeded to assist cutter Richard Etheridge in locating the jettisoned cargo. In total, the crew of cutter Richard Etheridge recovered 57 bales, which tested positive for cocaine.

“Despite the challenging sea state conditions and thanks to the close collaboration and coordination with our Royal Virgin Islands Police partners, our crews did an outstanding job in disrupting a major shipment of cocaine and keeping it from ever reaching the streets,” said Capt. Gregory H. Magee, Sector San Juan commander.  “Our strong partnerships, as in the case of the British Virgin Islands and island nations throughout our area of responsibility, are key to achieving safe and secure maritime borders from drug trafficking and other smuggling threats in the Eastern Caribbean.”

“This is a great example of the close working relationship between the U.S. and the UK overseas territories,” said Detective Inspector Mike Jones, Head of Intelligence for the Royal Virgin Islands Police. “The excellent work of the U.S. Coast Guard forced the crew of the go-fast vessel to jettison their cargo. We will continue to work closely with all agencies and partners in order to disrupt and detect the movement of narcotics, illegal money and people trafficking.”

Cutter Richard Etheridge is a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in Miami.

CBIG was formally created to unify efforts of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action (FURA, for its Spanish acronym), in their common goal of securing the maritime borders of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against illegal migrant and drug smuggling threats.  The Drug Enforcement Administration and Federal Bureau of Investigations are also integral partners of the CBIG. 

The CCSF is an initiative of the U.S. Attorney’s Office created to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations operating in the Caribbean. CCSF is part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) that investigates South American-based drug trafficking organizations responsible for the movement of multi-kilogram quantities of narcotics using the Caribbean as a transshipment point for further distribution to the United States. The initiative is composed of HSI, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Coast Guard, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico Police Department’s (PRPD) Joint Forces for Rapid Action.

Previous post

Team USVI Plays Dominican Republic In November For FIBA 2023 Qualifiers

Next post

The Details You Need To Know About The VRC Oaks

The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

No Comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *